Gwen Tunnah — Hahndorf Baker’s Daughter

Gwen came to live in Hahndorf in 1923 when she was 6 years old. She went to school at the Hahndorf Public School in Church Street where at that time there were about 50-60 students from the town.  Her father brought the family up from Adelaide to live in Hahndorf where he had purchased the Bakery on the corner of Balhannah Road and the Main Street.





The Shop, EGP Smith, Baker and Grocer— now Café Assiette



The shop was not only a bakery but also sold groceries, drapery, hardware  and chemistry which were then delivered each day by horse and cart.  There were 5 horses kept in the stables behind the shop and 5 carts, which of course were eventually replaced by delivery vans.

In the bakehouse about 500 loaves were baked each day, dozens of buns and plenty of Streusel kuchen (now called coffee cake) and sponge cakes were made.   A 2lb loaf of bread cost 4 pence delivered, or half a loaf was tuppence delivered;  if bought in the shop they were just slightly cheaper.   Streusel kuchen was 10pence/lb and buns were sold at 1 penny each or 4 for threepence (1 regular very satisfied customer used to buy 4 for threepence every Monday and have one each day from Monday to Thursday!!

Smith’s Bakery had quite a big staff; 1 full-time Baker and 2 apprentices, 1 person in the shop (later on this was Gwen when she left school at 13) with Mr Smith himself, and 5 drivers who delivered to customers daily.  The bakers would start at about 3:30am and the bread was baked and ready to be delivered by 6am-7am.

There was of course no electricity available at that time; the shop had carbon lighting and kerosene lamps – there were always thousands of candles for sale in the shop.

The enormous baking ovens were heated with wood and the smell of fresh bread was always wonderful.  Later, in the mid 90s, the shop was turned into a restaurant and customers were actually able to sit and have their dinner in what had been this very large baking oven!

While Gwen worked in the shop, she became extremely proficient in cake decorating, making wonderful wedding and birthday cakes, as shown.

Gwen remembers that in those days most families had a milking cow or two which they kept up the road towards what is now Palmas and was then all paddocks;  in the evening the owners would go up and drive the cow/s back up the main road into their yards ready to be milked and in the morning they would return them to the paddocks.

Gwen mentioned that there had been graves of people buried in the original church land right up to the church, and when Balhannah Road was sealed these graves were still under the footpaths – and this would be over 100 years ago.

Thank you Gwen for relating such great memories;  in these times with lots of traffic and signs etc, it is sometimes hard to envisage what Hahndorf might have looked like without some verbal explanation.